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Jio to Launch Satellite Broadband Service in India


Indian telecommunications company Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. has rolled out a satellite-based gigabit fiber service and said it aims to provide high-speed broadband services to previously inaccessible areas within India. 

The new satellite broadband, named JioSpaceFiber, will be available across the country at “highly affordable” prices, expanding Jio’s reach to cover the millions of homes and businesses yet to be connected, the company said in a Friday (Oct. 27) press release.

“JioSpaceFiber will allow everyone, everywhere, to fully participate in the new digital society with gigabit access to online government, education, health and entertainment services,” Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, said in the release.

To make this project a reality, Jio has partnered with global satellite operator SES, according to the release. Through this collaboration, Jio will have access to the latest medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite technology.

John-Paul Hemingway, chief strategy officer at SES, said in the release that this partnership supports the Indian government’s Digital India initiative.

“Our first fiber-like services from space are already deployed today in parts of India, and we cannot wait to see how this will lead to digital transformation even in the most rural parts of the country,” Hemingway said.

Four remote locations in India — Gir Gujarat, Korba Chhattisgarh, Nabarangpur Odisha and ONGC-Jorhat Assam — have already been connected with JioSpaceFiber, according to the press release. This has demonstrated the power and reach of the solution, the release said.

In addition to delivering reliable, low-latency and high-speed internet and entertainment services, the satellite network used for JioSpaceFiber will enhance the availability and scale of Jio True5G by supporting additional capacity for mobile backhaul, per the release.

With the introduction of this service, Jio enters an arena in which Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Sunil Mittal’s OneWeb are also working to bring internet access to remote areas in India, Bloomberg reported Friday.

In 2016, Reliance Jio introduced free calls and cheap data plans, forcing its telecom rivals to match its pricing, according to Bloomberg.

The new satellite broadband offering will also boost Reliance Jio’s eCommerce, streaming entertainment and financial services businesses, the report said.